jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

This the Editorial of the city of Pergamino´s main newspaper. We believe that it sums it all up

Editorial: People made their voices heard in the Judiciary.

Last Friday, the city of Pergamino lived the first trial by jury in its history (the second of the province of Buenos Aires). A citizen was charged with attempt of murder. The people of Pergamino made their voices heard, and declared him "not guilty".

When the different communities who are known today as the United States began their path to freedom, the authorities of the British Crown accused the leaders of the revolutionary movement as traitors. They chased them, prosecuted them, and charged them with treason. They also intended to make the trial very far away, in the islands of the Queen. However, the settlers agreed to be judged, but only before juries and in their place of origin. All ended acquitted. The People made their voices and its power heard.

Last Friday, the first trial by jury in the history of Pergamino took place (it was the 2nd of the province of Buenos Aires). A citizen was charged with attempt of murder. The People´s voice strongly struck the judiciary and declared him "not guilty". For the prosecution, there is no right for an appeal against this sovereign decision. It is the democratic decision of the People and, when they rule for innocence, it is final. Definitive. There is no appeal whatsoever by the Government.

The details of the case are only that; just details. What is important about what happened last Friday is that, for the first time in history, after listening to the statements of the parties (prosecution and defense), seeing the evidence and hearing witnesses and experts, the citizens of Pergamino, seated as a 12 person Jury, exercised their power and decided if one of their peers should be considered guilty or not guilty. And nobody can ever change the decision of that body of twelve citizens.

Furthermore, history will always remember that William Burrone was the judge of that first historical trial, Pablo Santamarina was the prosecutor and Virginia Gáspari was the public defender. And that Leonel Rosito was acquitted by his neighbors.

What is significant and important is that there were twelve people between 21 and 75 years, members of his own community, his neighbors, whom -exerting the maximum power that the Constitution can give them (to send a person to prison)-, decided that the defendant should continue his life in freedom. This is the true democratization that justice requires.

There was in that first jury young students and employees. Pharmacists, engineers and housewives. All in all, the people were giving their opinion. They were some of us exercising their power. And, as another thing to behold, in this new reality presented to us, the first jury was presided by a woman who was the one elected as a forewoman to read the verdict in open court. Nothing will ever be the same.

In this story, that it is just beginning, there are surely still many things to improve. It is likely, according to those responsible for the organization of this first trial, that in the future some issues will be modified, so that all flow more swiftly. But that does not alter the success of this first experience.

Before Friday, the decision of what was and what was not fair in a particular case was in the hands of a few, whom despite being also fellow citizens, sometimes make us felt a great distance with the feelings and the sense of justice of the community. On Friday, however, that feeling was materialized in a verdict that no one can ever change.

The road ahead will certainly not be easy. We must deepen it. It would be good to change the law so that a popular jury would try “all” cases with penalties of 15 years imprisonment or more. For now, it is only an alternative for the accused.

In addition, Pergamino proved to be in perfect conditions to successfully run this system. We should be very proud.

For all that, along with the extraordinary and historic happening in the judiciary of Pergamino last Friday, it is desirable to enrich and increase the lay participation in courts. The judiciary needs it. Pergamino needs it, too. And the People want it, approved it, and do not want anyone else to decide for them. Not anymore. The People want their voice to be heard more and more. Because that is their right.


Read the original article:

- Semanario El Tiempo (24/03/15): Editorial: La voz del pueblo se hizo sentir en el poder judicial [Read